The Contrast

The Contrast

(Infidelity Answered)

William Henley was an English writer and poet of the nineteenth century. Among various volumes of verse which he wrote may be found his best known poem, Invictus. In this poem, Henley expressed the bold and fatalistic attitude of the atheist, the one who will not be governed by an Authority beyond himself. While most practicing atheists will not openly voice these words, this is the attitude of one who chooses to govern his own life without interference from God’s directions. This is the expression of the unbeliever who faces the future alone and hopeless, yet tenaciously refusing to acknowledge the right of his Creator to govern his life.


Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced, nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeoning of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade;

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishment the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

In contrast to this deceptive and pitiable invincibility, the believer realizes that God is Creator of heaven and earth, that He is Lord of all, and that our eternal destiny is in His hands. Christ Jesus came to this earth, died a sacrificial death on the cross to bear our sins, and rose triumphantly from the dead. He will return as conquering King and Judge. If we refuse to willingly bow the knee to Him now, we shall be forced to bow then and confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11; 2 Timothy 4:1). The following poem, by Dorothea Day, expresses the exact opposite attitude as that found in Invictus. Let us own Christ as our living Lord now and face the future in the security of His redeeming love!

My Captain

Out of the light that dazzles me,

Bright as the sun from pole to pole,

I thank the God I know to be

For Christ the Conqueror of my soul.

Since His the sway of circumstance

I would not wince nor cry aloud.

Under that rule which men call chance

My head with joy is humbly bowed.

Beyond this place of sin and tears—

That life with Him! And His the aid,

That, spite the menace of the years,

Keeps, and shall keep, me unafraid.

I have no fear though strait the gate;

He cleared from punishment the scroll.

Christ is the Master of my fate;

Christ is the Captain of my soul.


Richard Hollerman

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